New York Yankees Season: glass half full or glass half empty?

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With the New York Yankees finishing up their 102nd regular season game today down in Texas, they stand six and a half games out of first place in the division and three games out of the second wild card spot. 

The Yankees have played all year with a depleted squad. They’re stars have mostly spent the season in the shadows dealing with nagging injuries while the team tries to pick up the slack.

It is no secret that the Yankees have struggled. From their ace having an earned run average in the mid four’s to their lineup’s constant inability to score some runs. The team that is referred to as “The Bronx Bombers” has failed to live up to that nickname.

With that being said, you can make a strong case that the majority of their struggles can be blamed on unlucky fortune.

Before the season even started, the Yankees were without their home run hitting center fielder Curtis Granderson, three time MVP Alex Rodriguez, gold glove first basemen Mark Teixeira and question marks surrounding the Captain, Derek Jeter. 

102 games later, the Yankees have endured even more major injuries including multiple setbacks to Jeter which has allowed him to only play one game in pinstripes all year, another lengthy trip to disabled list for Granderson and the elimination of Teixeira for the remainder of the year. 

Not to mention other injuries that have severely handicapped the Yankees season including their starting catcher, three starting pitchers, the starting third basemen, and three utility players. 

With all the injuries, the constant distractions with Rodriguez and the Biogenesis scandal, the Yankees have indeed prevailed. Few bright spots on the roster have allowed the Yankees to carry on, nonetheless they have delivered in these times of need.

Second basemen Robinson Cano has been the surefire MVP for this team. In a lineup lacks power, average and presence in general, Cano has been one of the few bright spots.

In the rotation, starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda has been a stud on the mound. He currently has the second best earned run average of starters in the American league only behind Seattle’s Felix Hernandez.

The strength of the 2013 Yankees has been their bullpen. From Shawn Kelly to Mariano Rivera, the bullpen has delivered almost every time and is responsible for a great deal of the success the team has achieved thus far. 

With a big series starting tomorrow night against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees have an opportunity to make the AL East race a whole lot tighter. 

The Rays are just half a game back from the leading Red Sox in the east and have been the hottest team in baseball over the past four weeks. 

If the Yankees can take the series or even possibly sweep the Rays, they would be just three games back from the first wild card spot. 

With Jeter close to making his second return to the lineup and Granderson just a couple weeks away from doing the same, the Yankees are in a decent spot and can make a run at the playoffs. 

Not to mention a move or two before the trade deadline, the Yankees can shorten the gap between them and the Red Sox considerably. 

Look to the Yankees to improve as the season continues. The injured players won’t be hurt for long and the good players playing poorly like CC Sabathia won’t continue that trend for long. 

 

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Washington Redskins 2013 Season Opener

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The Washington Redskins will kickoff their season on a much anticipated Monday night against the division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles. Unlike last year, the Redskins open at home which will give them a great boost of support from the home crowd.

The Eagles will boast a brand new offense that is expected to be up tempo, high powered and quick working. With Chip Kelly now at the helm, it’s safe to say the Redskins will have a wait and see approach on what to expect.

The Eagles offense is very similar to a college style offense that will include option runs, play fakes and a great deal of down field action. I’m pessimistic about this incoming Eagles squad. Although I believe Chip Kelly is a great football mind, I also think he is much better suited leading a college team.

He’ll learn quickly that in the National Football League, the players have ego’s, attitudes and the desire to shine therefore making it much more difficult to manage in comparison to college. With Michael Vick coming off of a horrific turnover-filled season, he remains the quarterback nonetheless.

His wideout’s remain the same in Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Their best offensive weapon returns at running back in LeSean McCoy. Brent Celek remains the Philly tight end as well. Their nucleus on offense has remained the same for three years now which has been an extremely strong group over that span with the exception of last year. With that being said, the Eagles offense will have a tough time moving the ball on the ground.

The Redskins defense was pretty good on the ground holding running backs to just under 96 yards per game. Not only is the run defense for the Redskins solid, but they are also getting back two starters that will greatly improve the defense.

Brian Orakpo will return as the left outside linebacker. He was greatly missed last year as the Redskins were reeling in sack production. With Rak back in the mix, no one will benefit more than Ryan Kerrigan. With Kerrigan being the only legitimate pass rusher last year, teams were able to neutralize him by throwing multiple double teams his way.

Not only will Vick have trouble dropping back, he’ll also be facing the Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather as he returns from knee surgery. Meriweather was hurt all last year and played just one game which was coincidentally against the Eagles.

He showed what he can bring to the table as he produced seven tackles and an interception against the young quarterback Nick Foles.

The Redskins struggled mightily against the pass last year but with Meriweather returning to the secondary along with the second year player Chase Minnifield and this year’s second round pick David Amerson, the Redskins look for that to change.

As for the Eagles defense, they have their hands full with the electric Redskin offense. Assuming Robert Griffin III starts week one, which I fully expect him too, and running back Alfred Morris ready for an encore after putting up astronomical numbers as a rookie, the Redskins will strike fear deep in defense’s hearts.

The Eagles underwent a complete overhaul on defense with their two starting cornerback’s exiting Philly. Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were much responsible for the failures that the Eagles endured in their pass defense.

With their exit and the end to the short lived era that Vince Young foolishly donned “the dream team”, the Eagles are focused on this year. The Eagles are looking to improve everywhere on defense, especially in the turnover department. Also, the Eagles were third to last in interceptions, 25th in sacks and third to last in points allowed.

Clearly, the defensive woes last year were partially responsible for the 4-12 record. This year’s defense will be much improved. Not only will they be better than last year, but being as atrocious as they were, that shouldn’t be too hard. My prediction of the final score in this game is 31-17.

The Redskins will show their teeth on offense and shred the Philly defense. As for the Redskins defense, some turnovers and a couple sacks will stop the Michael Vick led offense. In conclusion I believe the Redskins will trounce the Eagles in the season opener and will put on a show for all the fans.

Ivan Nova is a diamond in the rough.

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Ivan Nova is a diamond in the rough. The stuff he brings to the mound is exceptional and eye opening. From watching tonight’s game of Nova starting for the first time since June 23rd, you can clearly see what he brings to the table.

Nova hit Chris Stewart’s glove with a scorching 97mph fastball earlier in the game tonight which alone is impressive. But Nova’s arsenal on the mound doesn’t stop there.

He’s armed with a knee buckling 12-6 curve and a sinker that when it’s right, can get the best hitters in the major leagues out. So what’s the problem then? Nova’s inconsistency has hindered the elevation of his game.

You can ask any Yankee fan, in the past year if Nova is on the mound, it usually means trouble for the Bronx bombers. However, a year ago Nova was one of the biggest winners in baseball.

Nova had a stretch where he won more then a dozen games in a row. So what is the real problem with Ivan Nova?? I actually think it’s pretty simple. Confidence, plain an simple, it’s confidence!

Nova needs to challenge hitters, he needs to come right at them and test the hitters ability against his stuff. He needs to develop a gunslingers attitude on the mound.

If he can learn to do this, keep his confidence up and keep himself locked in throughout the entire game, I can see Nova becoming a top notch pitcher. Of course it’s easier said then done and countless pitchers have failed to do this before but with Ivan Nova, I think he can put it all together. Patience will be key for the Yankees.

Washington Redskins 2013 Season Outlook

Robert Griffin III

After falling to the Seattle Seahawks in a thrilling wild card match up, the Redskins started their offseason injured, dejected and with a future filled with uncertainty. The man the Redskins crowned “The Savior” had a torn up knee and a nation full of doubters.

Robert Griffin III started his offseason with knee surgery to repair a torn LCL and ACL on January 9th. Immediately after his surgery, RG3 marked in his calendar the first day of training camp indicating to everyone involved that the quarterback from Washington will be indeed ready.

Really, training camp doesn’t matter to RG3. Even though he’s only entering his second season as Redskins signal caller, the organization feels that he doesn’t necessarily need a full camp to be mentally and physically ready for the start of the season.

Now fast forward to today, RG3 has been running explosively, making sharp cuts and running around launching the rock all around the field. The Redskins training camp starts on July 25th and I fully expect Robert Griffin III to be in attendance and practicing his craft.

With that being said, I have absolutely no doubt that the skins QB will be behind center on September 9th to take on the division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.